Mayweather Boxing Club – On Monday afternoon, August 1, it was business as usual at the Mayweather Boxing Club. Established pros, up and comers, amateurs, and a few civilians went through their paces under the watchful eyes of older men. Roger Mayweather wasn’t there, but it was understood that he was safe and sound. Two days earlier he went missing and his friends and family were worried sick. His disappearance was the lead story in the online editions of both Las Vegas’ daily newspapers.
Roger Mayweather, the original Black Mamba, now 55 years old, was one of the top boxers of his day. He had 72 professional fights and won world titles at 130 and 140 pounds. But the newsworthiness of his disappearance said more about his famous nephew who elevated the Mayweather name to new heights. He’s retired now, Little Floyd, the boxer who so shrewdly transitioned from “Pretty Boy” to “Money,” but the Mayweather name still makes the needle jump.
Roger Mayweather (pictured on the left) hasn’t been well lately. He suffers from diabetes which has impaired his vision and there are holes in his memory. When he meets an old acquaintance, someone he would have greeted with a fist bump a few years ago, he has that look about him that says “this dude looks familiar; from where do I know him?” Otis Pimpleton, an old friend from Grand Rapids, briefly a professional boxer, acts as his caretaker. But it isn’t as if Roger is an invalid. To the contrary, at the gym he can still work the pads with the best of them.
Roger was gone from mid-afternoon Saturday until mid-morning Sunday. And while he wasn’t gone very long, keep in mind that the temperature in Las Vegas reached 107 degrees on Saturday and that he was without his medication. The missing persons detail of the Las Vegas Police Department was on the case, but he was found by the wife of a person who is associated with the gym.
She found him near the intersection of West Flamingo Road and Rainbow Boulevard. That’s a pretty good hike from the Mayweather Boxing Club, a shade less than three full miles. Did he spend the night outdoors or did someone take him in? His younger brother Jeff Mayweather, who is always candid, has no clue. Roger hasn’t shared the details of his “adventure.” And let the record show that even in his younger days, when he had the reputation of a party animal, Roger steered clear of strong drink. The hypothesis that he was off on a binge is nuts.
The Mayweather Boxing Club sits in an industrial park near the center of the Strip on the Eastern fringe of what the locals call Chinatown, a district with an ever-growing tail spreading west along Spring Mountain Road. It is the largest gym in the city dedicated exclusively to boxing. Inside its portals are two standard-sized rings, nine assorted hanging bags, and six machines of the sort found in a 24-hour fitness gym. There’s a naked section of floor set aside for shadow boxing and three rows of seats for spectators. When this reporter was there, a young girl who looked to be about fourteen was reading a textbook with a notebook open on her lap. She was doing her homework.
An outsider never knows who he will encounter when he drops by the Mayweather Boxing Club. As we were leaving, we spied Badou Jack sitting on a bench with his trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Professional protocol dictated that we steal an interview. Having completed his workout, Jack was relaxed and cordial.
When we last saw Badou Jack in action, he was fighting on SHOWTIME at the DC Armory, opposing Lucian Bute in the second defense of his WBC World 168-pound title. The bout was paired with James DeGale’s IBF title defense against Rogelio Medina. The plan was to match the winners in a unification fight in the fall.
Jack’s fight was scored a draw. Two judges had it 114-114. TSS ringside correspondent Ronan Keenan and most of his colleagues on press row objected. Their views jibed with the dissenting referee who scored it 117-111 in favor of Badou Jack. The CompuBox figures showed that Jack was far more efficient, landing 39.5 percent of his punches (278 of 703) versus 20.9 percent (179 of 857) for Lucian Bute who would subsequently fail his post-fight drug test.
Badou Jack was born and raised in Sweden, but one would never know it. Beyond the fact that his father is Gambian, his English is perfect with no trace of that distinctive Swedish accent. He has been in the United States off and on since 2009, residing briefly in New York and Miami before taking up residence in Las Vegas, but he notes that in Sweden a schoolboy is introduced to English in the third grade, making it easier to feel at home in an English speaking country.
Badou Jack is married to a girl of Iranian extraction that he met in Sweden and they recently had a baby daughter. As for his next fight, it’s in the works and will definitely be against James DeGale who overcame the challenge of Rogelio Medina, capturing a unanimous decision. The date and venue have yet to be determined.
And if he’s successful in defeating DeGale, unifying the title? “Then I plan to move up to light heavyweight,” he says, “unless a big money fight materializes at super middleweight.”
Suppose that Gennady Golovkin moved up to 168, we asked, would you like to fight him? Jack’s eyes grew bigger. “I would fight him and I would beat him,” he said matter-of-factly.
How would you do that, we asked, a question that elicited this response: “I would beat him because I believe in myself.” And needless to say, no boxer becomes a world champion without that mindset.
Mayweather Boxing Club